|This month, Infield Systems provides a snapshot of the ultra-deepwater market (+1,499 m/4,918 ft) in the US Gulf of Mexico (US GoM) up to 2019. The US GoM is anticipated to rank second behind Brazil in terms of ultra-deepwater capex over the next five years. The number of ultra-deepwater fields entering production is anticipated to increase by 53% over the next five years compared to 2010-2014, with offshore capex projected to increase by around 30%. Increasing ultra-deepwater investment is likely to have a positive effect on the subsea market, with subsea capex potentially accounting for 55% of ultra-deepwater capex. In terms of floating production systems, semisubmersible platforms will likely see the largest amounts of investment on projects such as Shell's Appomattox FPS.|
Key operators expected to drive activity in the US GoM's ultra-deepwater market include Shell, Anadarko, BP, ExxonMobil, Noble, and Chevron, together potentially accounting for 84% of ultra-deepwater capex. Noteworthy greenfield developments over the next five years include Shell's Stones and Appomattox oil fields and Anadarko's Heidelberg and Shenandoah oil fields, all four of which could see large amounts of investment over the forecast period. Shell's Stones field will be the world's deepest production facility (2,900 m/9,514 ft). The field will be developed using an FPSO linked to a subsea production system, with first oil production expected in 2016. Anadarko's Heidelberg field is being developed using a replica spar design of the Lucius spar which entered production in January. Heidelberg is expected to start production in 2016. BP could start to develop the second phase of its Mad Dog field, which could require large amount of investment and enter production just after the end of the decade. Examples of ultra-deepwater brownfield developments over the period of analysis include Chevron's Jack and St. Malo fields, which aon re expected to see the installatiof additional subsea infrastructure.
-George Griffiths, Senior Energy Researcher, Infield Systems